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Mary Earps wants to inspire the next generation of Nottingham footballers as she prepares for Lionesses duty at UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 next summer.
Proudly born and bred in Nottingham, Earps is hoping her appearance as England’s current No.1 goalkeeper will help grow grassroots football across the city.
As England start to drum up excitement as hosts for the Women’s Euros next summer following tonight’s draw, Earps is anticipating a huge uptake of the sport with younger fans hoping to follow in her footsteps.
Earps, whose side will face Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland in Group A, said: “I think it's important that everyone gets behind the team as much as possible.
“I think it's great that we keep pushing the game forward in every community, in every county, all across the nation.
“You can see a lot of the players in the England team have come from all different areas of the country so it's really important to keep building grassroots all across the country.”
Back in 2010, Earps played a season for Nottingham Forest, a key for her development as a young player – going on to play for star-studded clubs such as Wolfsburg, and currently, Manchester United.
Earps is usually known as the club jokester, and prides her incredible performances on her ability to simply enjoy the game – something that is also being nurtured by Lionesses manager, Sarina Wiegman.
Earps added: “I'm very, very excited to be working with [Sarina]. I think for me, the thing that stands out the most about her is that she's really interested in knowing about you as a person, not just about you as a player.
“That definitely suits me in terms of the type of person I am - I think I play better when I'm happy and when I'm enjoying the game and we play the game because we love it.
“I feel she's very much got enjoyment as the key and staying focus.”
Having started at Weigman’s first game back in September this year, Earps didn’t have too much to do, with England beating North Macedonia 8-0 as part of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers.
Her successful campaign has continued, registering a fourth clean sheet from four in England’s World Cup qualifiers.
And now with a home Euros just in reach, Earps is looking forward to showing off her skill to fans across the country.
She said: “I'm just looking forward to being around the team. I think it's very much about process.
“We know that we're probably favourites going into the games that we've already played and we can recognise that, but it's important to stay focussed, stay grounded, and keep in mind what we're trying to build and achieve.
“There's lots of stepping stones that we need to keep stepping on in order to achieve that so I think it's been a great start.
“I want to keep seeing us being dominant in those games. We want to be one of the best.”
The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes 16 November. For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing